How to Be a Wash and Go Natural Whose Not Lazy and Retains Length

Last updated on August 22nd, 2022 at 10:24 am

Is retaining length with wash and go’s possible? Below you’ll discover how I managed to do/get the wash and go and length retention.

wash and go length retention

I will get right to it.

I keep seeing people say things like:

If you do anything but wash and go’s your laziness is a main reason for not retaining length.

Deciding to be a wash and go natural is NOT a bad thing.  It’s not even a lazy thing.

You can totally rock wash and go’s all year long (if that’s your thing) without being considered lazy. What’s even better (because who cares what other people think) is you experience retaining length with wash and go’s and lots of it.

Before sharing the how-to of retaining length on a wash and go only regimen as well as some pointers that will help with length retention, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why others may think that choosing to wear your natural hair in wash and go’s all the time is not a good idea.

Challenges with Wash and Go Only Styling

Wash and go’s are not only easy to do, they are a quick styling option (quick, not meaning lazy). Yet, there are some challenges that could arise when choosing to style your natural hair in wash and go’s all of the time.

Single Strand Knotshow to prevent split ends

Let’s start with eliminating the biggest monkey in the room. When styling your hair in a wash and go, the risk of getting single strand knots increases. That’s because your natural hair is in a very shrunken state.


While the styling process for a wash and go is initiated with your hair saturated in moisture, it does not remain that way on its own. Over time, your curls may begin to feel dehydrated.

Excessive Shrinkage

shrinkage on fine natural hair

The wash and go lends itself to creating a TON of shrinkage on natural hair. This may or may not be to your liking as it could be a contributing factor to the first challenge mentioned….single strand knots.

Retaining length with wash and go’s may not be easy but it’s possible

Frizz and Frump

OK I was thinking of the phrase pomp and circumstance. In reverse, of course.

Just think about what it’s like to go through all the ceremonial steps to creating your beautiful wash and go hairstyle only for your hair to end up looking crazy frizzy and just you in general, looking loveably frumpy.

All of these challenges that could occur with being a wash and go natural are real. Don’t get me wrong. But…

They can be minimized and many cases avoided altogether.

Regimen for Retaining Length with Wash and Go’s

ways to retain length with wash and go's

At the end of every day, you want to look good and not lose tons of hair while doing it. That includes doing wash ‘n go’s.

In order to achieve both, here’s the ultimate of it all:

You actually can’t be lazy!

Sorry to disappoint those who think otherwise.

Prescription for How NOT to Be a Lazy Wash and Go Natural

Choosing to always style in a wash and go doesn’t have to be considered lazy but based on how you handle your hair, it can be. Here is the prescription for how NOT to be a lazy wash and go natural while retaining length:

  • Always start on freshly washed and conditioned hair.
    Don’t even consider slathering product over hair that’s dirty to get the “look” of a wash and go. It will end up looking like a “not wash and no.”
  • Work in sections when setting the curls.
    The smaller the better. When applying your styling products, ensure every strand is covered. This will drastically reduce the risk of frizzing your wash and go early on.
  • Discover the products that work best for YOUR hair.
    It doesn’t matter if this gel or that conditioner worked on every other natural you’ve watched videos of. If it doesn’t work for you, it’s no good. Fine hair naturals need lighter weight styling products but not so light that your strands go floating around unnecessarily.

Done but Not Over

Once it’s done, it’s not over.
So you’ve created a pretty awesome looking wash and go. You want to continue styling this way…forever (in my New York accent). Yet, you need that wash and go to last before washing your hair again.

Here’s the basis of retaining as much length as possible as a wash and go natural:

  • Moisturize your hair in between wash days. Keeping it moisturized is what helps prevent all that dryness which can lead to breakage. Spray moisturizers work VERY well because you don’t need to manipulate your hair much to get the moisture into it. Cream moisturizers can also be used but to prevent disturbing too much of the style, scrunch the product into your curls versus rubbing it in.
  • Recognize when it’s time to trim. Keeping your ends in good condition will help keep those nasty single strand knots (aka SSKs) at bay.
  • Know when it’s time for a shaping. Even with freshly trimmed ends, sometimes a shaping or more of a cut is in order. This is purely more for aesthetics. Shaping your overall head of curls allows for your wash and go style to look its best. No more low hanging curls.
  • Do not play with your hair. As tempting as it is to run your fingers through your curls, resist the urge to do it. Constantly touching your hair not only disturbs the style, it inflicts premature wear and tear on your strands.
  • Protect your hair (while asleep AND when styling) Do not let those strands roam free while you are sleeping. Secure your curls with a loose scrunchie or other barrette (here’s an example) that doesn’t cause crinkles in the curls and prevents your delicate strands from becoming a tangled mess. Then, sleep on a satin or silk pillow case coupled with a scarf of the same material to protect your edges. And then, there’s styling. While one goal of choosing to be a wash and go natural is to sport your curls pretty much always, there comes a time when you need to put them up for a bit. Who says you can’t engage in protective styling when you have set you hair in a wash and go?
    • Here are a few ways:
      • Loose bun
      • high ponytail (the pineapple)
      • loose twists and rolls (see below)
wash and go flat twists

Enough said.

Last (but not in the least bit less important than the others), I’d be remiss in leaving God out of any aspect of life, that includes your hair care.

If things are not working out with your hair as intended, why not consult the one who created it in the first place?

Ask God for guidance in every area of your life, including your decision to do wash and go’s to retain length. He can cut out those trial and error moments that come with discovering the best products and techniques for your hair. Just ask Him.

Now, if you are doing all of that, can you honestly say that you’re being lazy with your hair? Heck no!

Now go and live your wash and go life and let everybody else learn to mind their own hair’s business 😉

wash and go length retention

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  1. Great read! How about people with short hair? How do we protect our curls at night?

    1. hey lady. My daughter has shorter hair and she will either band it and tie down with a satin scarf or she will just tie her edges down and just lay with her hair loose on a satin pillowcase. As long as you aren’t allowing your fro to rub on cotton, you’re good. Then as it gets longer you can put it up

  2. Excellent advice and well-written. X

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